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Probiotics: A Great Home Remedy For Weight Loss
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Friendly bacteria in the gut, or probiotics, are some of our best allies when it comes to promoting good health. These bacteria including lactobacilli, bifidobacteria and many others populate our digestive tracts and in addition to promoting weight loss, play a role in maintaining immune health (including cancer prevention), improving hormonal balance and supporting the gastrointestinal tract. Probiotic supplements are available in capsules, as powders and in fermented foods such as yogurt and kefir.

A number of studies have demonstrated a connection between friendly intestinal flora and weight loss. In a recent one reported in the May 26, 2011 edition of ScienceDaily, rats were given a form of lactobacillus while in utero and until they became adults. Compared to the controls, rats who received the lactobacillus gained significantly less weight although both groups ate the same high energy food. In contrast, a third group of rats on the same diet, but who were given a form of e coli which promotes inflammation, added body fat.

In another study reported in the January 14 edition of ScienceDaily, scientists studied a gut microbe called Toll-like receptor 2. Individuals deficient in this microbe experience changes in the flora of their guts to resemble that of animals and humans who are not overweight. However, at the same time, this deficiency also promotes inflammation in the digestive tract such as one might see in individuals suffering from ulcerative colitis. The researchers conclude that successful management of gut bacteria may help promote weight loss, while cautioning against the potential for inflammation. In other words, it helps to fix it, but not too much.

In still another related study cited by ScienceDaily (October 19, 2008) researchers found that waste products from bacteria in the gut can activate a molecule which then slows the passage of food through the intestines. The result is increased absorption of nutrients leading to weight gain.

Finding a drug which targets this molecule or the Toll-like receptor 2 in the previous study may then be ways to help reduce obesity. If on the other hand, these conditions reflect an imbalance in the intestinal flora, an alternative would be to focus on correcting that instead.

A big reason for intestinal imbalances is overuse of antibiotics. Prescribed to destroy a bacteria which is making you ill, it also kills the friendly bacteria allowing other intestinal flora such as yeasts and fungi to grow out of control. Since the yeast loves sugar, a diet high in this nutrient can also contribute to imbalances as can one with lots of processed foods and white flour...more reasons to give them up if you are serious about losing weight and enjoying better health.

In addition to changing your diet it is important to take probiotic supplements, kefir, yogurt or other fermented foods such as miso. Not all probiotic products provide the same benefits. Differences in the way they are processed and stored can affect how beneficial they are for you. In addition, while kefiir and yogurt both contain friendly bacteria, kefir has more varieties and does a better job of recolonizing your colon.


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